Rhino Poaching in South Africa
Ron Thompson at SAHGCA annual congress 2012
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is an honour for me to address you this evening. I already feel ‘at home’ because I know I am in the company of kindred spirits.
Although I have spent the last 53 years working for wildlife in national parks, or researching and writing about controversial wildlife management issues, I am not an expert on what is going on in South Africa today - vis-a-vis the current commercial poaching of our rhinos. There are many people in this country who are far more qualified to talk on this subject. Why then did I not just decline the request and suggest the selection of another speaker? The answer opens up a whole can-of-worms which I now propose to expose.
The problem with today’s commercial rhino poaching epidemic - and its solution - is complex. Asking anyone to give a coherent address on this single subject, therefore, is like asking him to describe one piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle whilst ignoring all the other pieces. The importance of that single piece lies in the fact that it is an integral part of a much bigger picture; and its significance will only be clear when all the pieces are put together.